Music Reaches Client Lost to Dementia

JFS Community Chaplain Rabbi Lynn Liberman just finished another very busy Passover, delivering 11 separate Seder celebrations/lectures this year, including three at new sites, attended by 74 people.

One resident at a facility has memory loss and depression. He came to the Passover celebration very sullen and withdrawn. The staff worked hard to even get him there. As the Seder progressed, he would perk up a bit more at every song.

At the end after nearly everyone had left, he began to sing, from memory, full songs from the end of the Haggadah. He became animated, engaged and full of smiles. He kept time with the songs by banging on the table. “It was like a flower that was drinking in refreshing water! His spirit became so alive,” said Rabbi Liberman.

“The power of music to excavate memories buried deep is incredible. I am so blessed to be able to experience this with my clients.”

On another occasion, an elderly client surrounded by his family, perked up at the smell and taste of the Passover foods including the parsley and gefilte fish. His family remarked how grateful they were to have that time of celebration together.

If you have any questions about the JFS Community Chaplaincy program, please visit our website or call Rabbi Liberman at (651) 434-4112.